A new study led by a team of scientists at Parkway Hospital for Children in Kansas City, Missouri, and published in the journal Science Translational Medicine  shows that the aggressive treatment of childhood leukemia with high-intensity chemotherapy is not only unwarranted, but it also creates a significant number of late effects, weaker immunity after treatment, and a greater likelihood for relapse. The new study questions the adhesions used to cure four out of every five childhood leukemias.
What is less known or well studied is what happens when high-intensity chemotherapy treats cancer that may or may not be curative. The current focus is on the purpose of these treatments, the toxicities of each cancer, and the extreme side effects. With only a tiny percentage of children diagnosed with childhood leukemia surviving the past five years of age, we don’t know how many will survive and to what degree their quality of life will be affected by treatments that today are considered standard against minimal and benign alternatives.
The aggressive treatment begins with induction therapy, where high doses of intense chemotherapy are administered to achieve remission without toxicity. Once the child appears to be in remission, they begin maintenance therapy, where they receive smaller doses while they grow and develop into a tumor-free state. The endpoint is reached by growing the patient into adulthood and watching for a relapse. Relapse is a common occurrence with childhood leukemia, with many patients developing tumors in their bone marrow years after treatment.
Jasper Venture Group, a pioneer in the new field of epigenetic therapy, announced today that they have agreed with The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) to collaborate on research and development projects involving pediatric hematological malignancies.
The collaboration will focus on research and development for pediatric leukemia treatments based on epigenetics. Epigenetic therapy is a new approach to cancer treatment that targets only the cancerous cells while not harming healthy cells by targeting specific molecular pathways involved in hematopoietic stem cell production.
Additionally, Jasper Venture Group and LLS will work together to identify and evaluate the most promising technologies in development to treat childhood leukemia. Jasper Venture Group plans to share its extensive knowledge of epigenetics on blood stem cell growth, cellular differentiation and development, and cell-cycle regulation.
ilio mavlyanov, the CEO of Jasper Venture Group, says, “We believe that epigenetics represents a promising new approach to childhood leukemia treatment. Our goal is to assist LLS in utilizing our expertise and knowledge base to identify and evaluate the most promising therapies in development. We look forward to working with LLS, particularly on researching and developing epigenetic cancer therapies.”
This new study shows that treating children with high-intensity chemotherapy creates many late effects, weaker immunity after treatment, and a greater likelihood of relapse.